*(Houston, TX) — Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. In 1992, after nearly 20 highly successful years at Xerox and other leading companies, Knowles left Corporate America to pursue his passion for the music and entertainment industries. He turned one of his bedrooms into his office, obtained a DBA, had a company phone line installed—which he still has today—and officially opened the doors of Music World Entertainment.
Over the past two decades, Music World Entertainment has experienced tremendous growth and extraordinary success. It has expanded and diversified into one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates, with record sales exceeding 300 million worldwide. Its worldwide platforms include successful record label ventures; management services for recording artists and producers; artist development services; endorsement and partnership deals; performance and event facilities; a master catalog series; film and television ventures; licensed merchandise products; philanthropic work; and investment and property holdings. Knowles established several recording imprints under Music World Music, including Music World Gospel, Music World Kids and Music World Country/Compadre. Music World Music has had an unprecedented impact on music around the globe through its GRAMMY® Award-winning artists, legendary entertainers and music icons, top catalogue compilations and celebrated soundtracks.
Knowles’ entrée into the music business was as a dad who was supporting the passions and dreams of his daughters, Beyoncé and Solange. In the beginning, he took his daughters to dance classes and rehearsals. When Beyoncé became a member of a performance group called Girls Tyme, Knowles became more involved. He helped out with the group and accompanied the girls to Orlando, Florida when they were invited to appear on Star Search. The group lost the competition. With the girls heartbroken and in tears, Knowles sought advice from show host Ed McMahon, who told him that past losers on the show had retooled, made some personnel and other changes within their groups, and become very popular (Boys II Men, Justin Timberlake and Usher, to name a few). He became co-manager of the group, reshaped it, and worked hard to get the girls as many performance opportunities as possible while he was attempting to get them a record deal. In 1995, Knowles negotiated a production deal for the group with Darryl Simmons (songwriting partner with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “LA” Reid) and Elektra Records. However, The Dolls (the group’s name at that time) were dropped by Elektra before they had an opportunity to record a CD. After more time, more gigs, several name changes (The Dolls, Cliché, Something Fresh, and Destiny), and lots of hours and money spent at Kinko’s preparing and mailing promotional materials to record companies, they eventually landed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1997.
During this time, Knowles began managing Lil’ O, a rapper who had attained some regional success in the Houston area. Knowles made his first record deal when he got Lil’ O signed with MCA Geffen/Interscope. Before Destiny’s Child had recorded their first record, he was able to get them featured on the video for Lil’ O’s single, “Can’t Stop.” It was the beginning of Knowles’ belief that his artists should work together—a philosophy that is a central tenet of Music World Entertainment today.
A visionary leader, Knowles has expanded his company through successful acquisitions and partnerships. From 2002-2006, Music World Entertainment was a part of the Sanctuary Records Group, a record label based in the United Kingdom, which had been the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management and urban music management company in the world. As president of Music World/Sanctuary Urban Music, he launched albums for such prestigious artists as Earth Wind & Fire, the O’Jays, Chaka Khan and Kool and the Gang, which are now part of Music World Music’s popular Music World Masters Series. The company also released DVDs of live performances of Mary J. Blige, as well as De La Soul’s CD, The Grind Date. In addition, it released Ray J’s third album, Raydiation, which was a joint venture with his independent label KnoCKOUT Entertainment. Through acquisitions of Troy Carter, Max Gouse, Tony Davis, Kendu Isaacs, and Demmette Guidry, the Music World/Sanctuary Urban management roster included: Destiny’s Child, Eve, Mary J. Blige, Solange, D12, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Mary Mary, and Nelly. In addition, multiple GRAMMY winner Nas had his first #1 album, and recording artist Lyfe Jennings had his first #1 Billboard R&B hit. In 2006, Knowles purchased his company back from Sanctuary Records Group.
Through Music World Music, Knowles also has established joint ventures with Sony Music, Interscope/Geffen, Fontana/Universal, Integrity Africa, Fontana International and Sony Brazil. In addition, Knowles has negotiated mega endorsement deals and strategic partnerships with Fortune 50, 100 and 500 corporations across various industries, including Wal-Mart, BET, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, ESSENCE Communications, American Express, L’Oreal, General Mills, Verizon, Pepsico (Pepsi), McDonald’s, Nintendo, Giorgio Armani (Emporio Armani Diamonds), DirecTV, Chesebrough-Ponds (Vaseline), Ocean Pacific, Soft Sheen-Carson, Crystal Geyser, Samantha Thavasa and others.
In 2002, Knowles founded Spirit Rising Music, which is now Music World Gospel, as a faith-based record and management company under Music World Music. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, it is currently the largest owned and operated African American Gospel label in the world. Music World Gospel features a roster of award-winning recording artists, joint ventures and special projects including Trin-i-tee 5:7, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Juanita Bynum, Le’Andria Johnson, Amber Bullock, Andrea Helms, and Elder Goldwire, as well as ESSENCE Gospel, Ultimate Gospel, the Most Powerful Voices, The Gospel Superfest, Spirit Rising and The Pastor Rudy Experience brand compilations CDs. In 2007, through Music World Music, Knowles acquired the country music catalogue of Compadre, which includes recordings of GRAMMY award-winning artists and unique country music compilations featuring artists such as country singer and cultural icon Johnny Cash, as well as Billy Joe Shaver, James McMurty, Trent Willmon and Kate Campbell, among others. Knowles also launched the family oriented music imprint, Music World Kids. The label has released youth projects that include: Baby Jamz, Krazy Kuzins, Kid’s Rap Radio and the Music World Kids CD 5-pack. The venture also has released music from Nickelodeon’s popular cartoon series, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
Music World Music has received recognition and accolades within the industry for its astounding success. It was crowned one of the Top Imprint Labels of the Decade (2000-2009) by Billboard magazine. With hits across the music landscape—from Top 40, to R&B, to hip hop, to gospel, Music World Music was also named the #1 Dance Imprint Label in the world by Billboard magazine 2009.
Top Music World Music album releases include: Destiny’s Child’s RIAA gold album, This Is The Remix, and RIAA platinum album, 8 Days of Christmas; Solange’s debut project, Solo Star; the ESSENCE Music Festival series; Dancelicious, a compilation CD featuring Beyoncé, Solange and Kelly Rowland club mixes; GRAMMY nominated soundtracks from Dreamgirls and Roll Bounce; and the soundtracks from Cadillac Records and MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera, among others.
Through Music World Entertainment and Artist Management, Knowles has executive produced over 100 award-winning, platinum and gold albums in multiple genres, including pop, R&B, gospel, dance, and country, as well as soundtracks and special themed projects. Under Music World Artist Management, Destiny’s Child became a global phenomenon and was named the Best Selling Female Group of All Time in popular music, selling over 100 million records and collecting nearly 200 awards, including GRAMMY Awards, World Music Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Awards (U.S., Europe and Asia), Billboard Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and countless others. Billboard magazine ranked the group as one of the Greatest Trios of All Time and, in 2008, inducted them into the All Time Hot 100 Artists. Under Knowles’ guidance, both Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé experienced spectacular success during the decade between 2000 and 2009. Destiny’s Child was named on Billboard magazine’s Top 10 Artists of the Decade (2000-2009) and, as a solo artist, Beyoncé was crowned Billboard’s number one Artist of the Decade—Female (2000-2009) and number 4 Top Artist of the Decade (2000-2009). During that time, Knowles also successfully launched and managed the solo careers of the other members of Destiny’s Child: Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, who have also had unprecedented international success.
The Music World Entertainment strategy that Knowles established develops all aspects of an artist’s career. A centerpiece of this approach is his signature Star Power™ Boot Camp, which includes vocal coaching, choreography, fitness, A&R, styling and wardrobe, media training, photo shoots, and music business 101.
Knowles’ successful track record has expanded to include film. He is executive producer of the #1 box-office hit, Obsessed. He has also ventured into television. Knowles executive produced and is featured in two international reality series: UK’s #1 rated show, Chancers, and the new series Breaking From Above, a six-episode program based on the British girl group From Above and their struggles to stay on top. The series airs on MTV International and can be viewed in over 160 countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Asia, Portugal, Greece, Poland, and Latin America. The group, which came to Knowles’ attention when they performed as the opening act on Beyoncé 2009 “I Am…” Tour in the UK, was signed by Knowles to Music World Artist Management and Music World Music. From Above’s debut CD, Breaking From Above, was released internationally in December 2011.
The Houston headquarters of Music World Entertainment is home to the House of Deréon Media Center (HODMC), a performance and event facility that hosts live music events featuring an international roster of artists from various musical genres. Multiple GRAMMY winner and platinum selling artist John Legend and award-winning British sensation Estelle have been among the many featured performers there. Celebrity and TV host, Jimmy Fallon, has also made use of the facility, as well as MTV, BET and other media and entertainment conglomerates. The HODMC also is used for special events such as charity galas, political events, corporate parties and private gatherings.
Music World Studios has a rich history of recording projects for some of the top artists and musicians in the business. Originally constructed on the Music World Entertainment Campus in 2004 to provide a private recording studio and dance rehearsal space for Destiny’s Child, today the studios are used for recording projects for Music World artists, as well as other talent in the music industry. CDs by Destiny’s Child members that were recorded at Music World Studios include: Destiny’s Child’s Destiny Fulfilled, Beyoncé’s B-Day and Kelly Rowland’s Ms. Kelly, among many others. These CDs garnered numerous #1 singles and international acclaim. Music World Gospel artists Trin-i-tee 5:7, Brian Courtney Wilson, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Le’Andria Johnson, Amber Bullock, Andrea Helms and Pastor Rudy Rasmus have all recorded projects there. Award–wining and multi-platinum and gold-selling artists who have recorded projects at Music World Studios include: George Clinton, De La Soul, Rick Ross, Estelle, Lil Wayne, Mario and Ginuwine. Music World Recording Studios and Rehearsal Hall provides full engineering, mixing and editing services by highly-trained experts using the most technologically advanced equipment, all in a private and exclusive environment in Downtown Houston. The studios, which also include a VIP lounge, are now available for use by the public.
Philanthropy has always been part of Music World Entertainment’s corporate responsibility and has always been important to Mathew Knowles. Along with Tina Knowles, and daughters, Beyoncé and Solange, he established the “Survivor Foundation,” “The Knowles Rowland Center” and the “Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments” (St. Johns Church, Downtown Houston), an apartment complex for homeless individuals that provides affordable housing, supportive services, and employment resources to people who are on their journey to self-sufficiency. The Knowles also built two homes in Houston for Habitat for Humanity. In addition, the family has donated to numerous non-profit organizations throughout the world.
As Music World Entertainment celebrates its growth and accomplishments over the past 20 years, it is making plans to build on that legacy of success. For Music World Entertainment, the future starts now. The company will make several announcements in the coming months regarding new artist signees, and new projects, acquisitions and partnerships.
GQ Media & Public Relations
Founder, The African American Public Relations Collective
Editorial Director, Global Communicator